Access to finance for enterprises, particularly at the early stages of development, is a key issue for the economic development of the MENA region.
A 2006 OECD study on the SME financing gap in OECD member countries revealed the presence of not one single financing gap, but several kinds of financing gaps: general, equity, and for high-growth SMEs.
In the MENA region, access to finance remains one of the most prominent economic challenges for most enterprises and particularly for SMEs, which account for as much as 99% of companies, two-thirds of jobs and a significant share of the value-added.
Responding to this urgency, the Enterprise Financing Network (EFN), a private sector initiative of the MENA-OECD Investment Programme, was launched in May 2006.
The mission of the MENA-OECD Enterprise Financing Network (EFN) is to foster finance for entrepreneurship in the region by providing a platform to connect entrepreneurs, financiers, research bodies and government regulators. A unique feature of the EFN is its regional approach -- inclusive of private and public sectors -- which seeks practical solutions to the financing gap through dialogue with financial institutions and public sector bodies.
The MENA 100 Business Plan Competition, a competition awarding the most innovative enteprises in the MENA region, is one such initiative designed to connect small and medium-sized enterprises with sources of finance.
Entrepreneurship Day and Business Plan Competition launch at third Enterprise Financing Network meeting, 19 May 2008, Manama, Bahrain
Commercialising innovative ideas at centre of second Enterprise Financing Network meeting, Dubai, 21-22 March 2007
Launch of the MENA-OECD Enterprise Financing Network, Bahrain, 3 May 2006